Begum Shahab-Ud-Din Higher Secondary School presented a festive look as the Minister of Education, Atif Khan; A/g Deputy High Commissioner of Australia, David Preston, and the DFID Officials arrived for the Stone Laying Ceremony on July 12, 2017. The officials and the school Principal were briefed on the construction plan through a 3-D Model of the school.
Ushered in by school students and the principal, the delegation participated in a lively session with the students who came to the school despite summer holidays. The event also brought a good mix of locally elected leaders, prominent citizens and around a dozen female Members of the Provincial Assembly, reflecting the importance of girls’ education. Stone Laying Ceremony turned into an event for advancing the cause of Education with an impressive turn out of students, teachers and members of the community.
Begum Shahab-Ud-Din Higher Secondary School, Peshawar, is one of the oldest and renowned schools in Peshawar city, dating back to the pre-partition era. Due to its prime location, it is a preferred school by the local population with the bulk of them coming from marginalised and disadvantaged segment of the population. With only 33 classroom for over 2000 students the stifling student: classroom ratio was at 60:1 is casting a dark shadow on the morale of the teachers and the community.
In her welcome address the Principal, Ms. Khalida Shah, recalled the school’s long history, as well as the wear and tear suffered by the school over time. She declared the ceremony a “big day” to address a long-felt need as she said, “It is a big day for school as the students have been facing a lot of hardships for the past two years due to shortage of classes”.
The process of construction of new classrooms and rehabilitation of Higher Secondary Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is gaining momentum. The event signaled a positive commitment towards girls’ education. The Minister of Education, Atif Khan, commended the commitment of Humqadam-SCRP for the provision of safe, secure and inclusive learning environment,
“Education an overwhelming priority of the government. The recent budget allocation for education by the KP government is one of the largest of all of the provinces. It is not only important to allocate for education, but also the proper utilisation is just as important. Our collaboration with DFID, Australian Aid and Humqadam has enabled us to combine both the direction and intention in a meaningful manner. We are on track to meeting education goals.”
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 202 Higher Secondary Schools have been identified to undergo infrastructure improvement as a part of infrastructure improvement, of which 20 schools have been completed and 53 are under construction at present. Over 2000 new classrooms are being built to transform the educational experience for thousands of young students into a joyful learning opportunity. Across 9 Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshera, Lower Dir, Abbottabad, Haripur and Chitral), Humqadam-SCRP is engaged in school construction and rehabilitation programme to bring vulnerable children to school and promote girls’ education.
Secretary Education, Mr. Bangash, echoed the same sentiment as the Minister of Education, by stating, “Clearing the backlog of missing facilities is one of our government’s biggest priority. Towards the end, government is making big strides to achieve education goals. The present budget has adequate funds to meet the task.”
The new block will add 34 new quality classrooms and 24 new toilet blocks with accommodations for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). These welcome changes will bring the student: classroom ratio down to the ideal 40:1.
Starting off in Urdu, Ms. Judith Herbertson, Deputy Head DFID, impressed audience as she greeted the children and participants in Urdu and expressed delight at the long awaited construction of Begum Shahab Ud Din Higher Secondary School. She stated that the new infrastructure is a much needed investment for the future generations.
Speaking to the students and the Government representatives, she said, “Every time I come to KP, I go back with a strong sense of optimism. Begum Shahab Ud Din Higher Secondary School deserves improved building and toilet facilities. It is not only about comfort, but also respecting those who come to school every day with the purpose of learning.”
The new building will help the school in regaining the traditional stature of being the oldest and the most renowned school in the area. The Stone Laying Ceremony marked a big day for the students, teachers, and parents, who were hopeful for the future. David Preston, A/g Deputy High Commissioner of Australia, welcoming the progress on education reforms by the government of KP said, “Australia, in partnership with the UK, is pleased to be working with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to improve access to quality education for girls and boys in the province. By improving school infrastructure we are helping to provide an environment which will better learning outcomes and increase enrolments, especially for girls.”
The Stone Laying Ceremony at Begum Shahab-Ud-Din Higher Secondary School is part of the continuing work in progress for school infrastructure improvement in KP. “This schools with 3-storey new building and 34 new classrooms will mean a better learning environment for 1700 students. This new building is Humqadam’s commitment to providing improved infrastructure, which gives parents the reliability of school every day.”